Premiership: Gloucester 15-22 Harlequins

By Phil CartwrightBBC Sport
Gloucester v Harlequins
Harlequins, helped by Charlie Walker's late try, came from 12-0 down to beat Gloucester at Kingsholm
Gloucester (12) 15
Pens: Twelvetrees 4, A. Thomas
Harlequins (10) 22
Tries: Easter, Wallace, Walker Cons: Evans 2 Pen: Evans

Harlequins came from behind against Gloucester to earn a first Premiership win at Kingsholm since February 1999.

Four Billy Twelvetrees penalties put the hosts 12-0 up, but Nick Easter's converted try and a Nick Evans penalty brought it back to 12-10 by half-time.

A powerful driving maul sent Luke Wallace over to put Quins ahead for the first time in the match.

A penalty from Aled Thomas reduced Gloucester's deficit to two but Charlie Walker's late try sealed victory.

Harlequins are now above the Cherry and Whites and up to fifth in the table, while the losing bonus point keeps Gloucester sixth.

International commitments robbed the two teams of a number of key players as they both returned to Premiership action for the first time in five weeks.

Back after the break
Gloucester and Harlequins had identical records during the Premiership's month-long break. Both sides were victorious in their two European pool fixtures (Gloucester in the Challenge Cup, Harlequins in the Champions Cup) and won one of their two group games in the LV= Cup.

Twelvetrees, overlooked by England for their match against South Africa on Saturday, started at fly-half for the home side with James Hook away with Wales and the Gloucester captain made an uncertain start, kicking out on the full from the kick-off at Kingsholm.

But he soon made amends, landing two penalties from long distance inside the first six minutes.

Gloucester lost Rob Cook to injury as the full-back fell awkwardly attempting to slide over for the game's first try and, although the TMO ruled Cook had been held up, Twelvetrees kicked the hosts into a 12-0 lead with two more penalties.

But, for all their early dominance, David Humphreys' side only led by two points at the interval.

Walker's break down the right gave Quins good field position, from which veteran back-rower Easter, captaining the visitors in the absence of England prop Joe Marler, drove over from a lineout.

Evans converted, and although his first penalty attempt of the evening drifted wide, his second successfully bisected the posts and took the New Zealand-born fly-half beyond Barry Everitt's points tally of 1,267 to become the highest-scoring non-Englishman in Premiership history.

Leading Premiership points scorers
2,382 - Charlie Hodgson (Sale, Saracens)
2,043 - Andy Goode (Leicester, Saracens, Worcester, Wasps)
1,605 - Olly Barkley (Bath, Gloucester, London Welsh)
1,489 - Jonny Wilkinson (Newcastle)
1,271 - Nick Evans (Harlequins)

Twelvetrees failed with two more kicks at goal after half-time, after which the visiting forwards produced a wonderful driving maul that ended with Wallace touching down to put Harlequins in front for the first time in the match.

Thomas, Cook's replacement, assumed kicking duties for Gloucester with Twelvetrees receiving treatment and he sent over an immediate response from the tee.

But Quins enjoyed a long spell of late pressure inside the opposition half and were rewarded when Walker raced onto a kick out wide to score in the corner.

Richard Hibbard came off the Gloucester bench late on, despite Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde claiming the hooker would "jeopardise his inclusion" when Wales play world champions New Zealand next weekend if he featured for his club side.

Hibbard had been released by Wales, who play Fiji on Saturday, because of a foot injury.

Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys on the selection of Richard Hibbard:

"We did not have any problems with Wales. Clearly, we have no impact on Welsh selection. All I will say is that we had discussions with the Welsh management yesterday and it was agreed with the Welsh management that Richard would be sitting on the bench tonight.

"We are unaware of what changed between last night and this morning. We want Richard to be playing against New Zealand and look forward to seeing him against them.

"The starting point in all these discussions is we wouldn't do anything that jeopardised player welfare and, as far as we were concerned, Richard was fit to play and that was agreed with the Welsh management yesterday afternoon.

"We are very surprised by this. As far as we are concerned, there was no issue. I don't think this is something which should be made a big issue."

Richard Hibbard
Hibbard played the final seven minutes, despite being released by Wales because of injury

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea:

"We were a bit frazzled and the first two penalties for 6-0 were not penalties and that is hard, because you go with a plan to defend the lineout and it was rubbish. That is difficult, but you know you are going to get decisions against you when you come here.

"It was a massive win for us. We knew we could have been out of it at 12-0, but we just kept playing around the corner of the loose position, which is our game.

"We started this huge fortnight behind the eight-ball, but we knew we were one good win away from being not far away from the top positions."

Gloucester: Cook; Sharples, Meakes, Atkinson, Purdy; Twelvetrees (capt), Robson; Wood, Dawidiuk, Afoa; Palmer, Hudson; Savage, Kvesic, Moriarty.

Replacements: Hibbard, Gibbons, Y. Thomas, Stooke, Evans, Braley, A. Thomas, D. Thomas.

Harlequins: Chisholm; Walker, Hopper, Lowe, Lindsay-Hague; Evans, Dickson; Lambert, Ward, Sinckler; Matthews, Robson; Trayfoot, Wallace, Easter (capt).

Replacements: Buchanan, Marfo, Adeniran-Olule, Twomey, Clifford, Burns, Swiel, Casson.

Att: 14,303.

Referee: Andrew Small